With a few days to the swearing-in ceremony of Nigeria’s president-elect, Bola Tinubu, there are still speculations surrounding who won the February 25 elections.
The electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), had in November 2022 assured Nigerians that the presidential and other election results from polling units across the country would be uploaded in real-time to the commission’s portal.
“On this note, let me seize this opportunity to respond to a story emanating from a section of the media that the commission has decided to jettison the uploading of polling unit level results in real-time on election day,” Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, had said.
“It should please be disregarded as fake news. The commission will upload polling unit-level results, and citizens will have access to those results in real-time as we upload your polling units.”
However, over two months after the presidential election, only results from 167,443 polling units representing 94.68% of the 176,846 units, have been uploaded on the IREV portal.
A breakdown showed that in most states across the federation, results are yet to be fully uploaded on the portal, apart from Ekiti State, which has been fully uploaded.
DUBAWA observed that in some cases, results from one or two polling units in a ward had not been uploaded; in some states, many PU results were not uploaded.
For example, a polling unit at Awi Ward:02 in Cross River State was the only one yet to be uploaded in the state, similar to Enugu State, where results from two polling units under Igbo Eze North LGA and Oji River LGA are yet to be uploaded.
In Edo State, results from almost all the LGAs had been uploaded, but for Akoko Edo LGA, results from 233 polling units were uploaded out of the 241 units. In Gombe State, results from three polling units are yet to be uploaded. Also, results from four polling units in Ondo State are yet to be uploaded.
The INEC IReV portal data showed that the last upload was 10:36 PM on March 25.
It is glaring that the structure and nature of the INEC IReV portal make it difficult for an average Nigerian to navigate through the results, which can only be accessed at the polling unit level. There is no aggregation of data according to RA, Wards or LGA.
Thus, several social media users have taken advantage of this to claim results on the portal favoured their preferred candidate.
This delay in result upload by the electoral body has aided the spread of misinformation around the election result, a situation heightened by perceived distrust among Nigerians towards INEC.
DUBAWA had, over the past weeks, observed how Nigerians on social media claimed their preferred candidates won the 2023 presidential election as against the declared winner.
In some cases, social media users referred to results on the IREV portal to prove that their candidate won the presidential election. At the same time, they call for the halt of the May 29 swearing-in ceremony.
Some supporters of the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi, have called for restoring their alleged stolen mandate. The trend is the same among supporters of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, whose favourite slogan is #Atikuiscoming.
Despite INEC’s declaration that Mr Tinubu won the presidential election, the ensuing drama over the result upload has left tongues wagging among the various political parties and their supporters. Some social media comments can be found here, here, and here.
Many petitions are still in court over the winner of Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election, while many cases by members of minor political parties have been withdrawn or dismissed. However, the question of full uploading of the presidential election remains embarrassingly unfilled by INEC. Since there are still two weeks before the presidential inauguration, citizens are justifiably expecting INEC to fulfil its obligation to them by fully uploading on the portal the results of the election ahead of the swearing-in date.